Click Interview with Skren:  ‘I Like The Idea Of Destruction And The Search For A Fresh Start’

Skren is a German duo driven by ‘Bias’ and ‘Poisa’. Hailing from Düsseldorf they this year self-released their second album “Chaos”. This work comes one year after the debut-full length “Grell” while they also released multiple singles. I discovered an Electronic duo driven by multiple influences like Industrial, Techno and EBM. The fusion between all these elements creates a dark and powerful sound. The production sounds raw and unpolished, but still visionary. This might be the sound for further generations of Electronic artists. Skren definitely deserves a wider attention and recognition so I hope this interview will incite people to discover the ‘analog chaos and digital dust’ made by Skren.

(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)

Skren: Skren is analog chaos and digital dust. Skren is part of our Industrial Riot-label that includes productions of Electronic music, art and all types of collaborations.

Bias: As a kid I was always listening to music-cassettes that my sisters recorded with 90s stuff like Clawfinger, Type O Negative, NIn, Faith No More. I wrote lyrics taught myself to play the guitar and the drums. I programmed my first midi sequences on and old Roland Groove-box and learned working with a DAW. It was a very creative time with lots of artistic experiments. All my friends also did something with music and we pushed each other to get ahead. After I’ve been involved in various sound-projects Poisa and I started making music together. We got our first synth the Waldorf Blofeld which is still a part of our studio today. We continued making music during my studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and Skren was initiated shortly after the graduation.

Poisa: In my family music and art were always around. I play the piano since the age of 5 and my two older brothers really were into having a band and playing their music in our basement. As a teenager I had to follow my personal taste in music to differentiate myself from the traditional styles of music that surrounded me. Instead of studying music I decided to study fine arts, focusing on sculpture and painting during these years. In my art studies I learned to be able to express myself in any medium. It enabled the liberation of my music from the academic approach and I now make music my art.

Q: I noticed you guys are hailing from Düsseldorf. I instantly think about Kraftwerk, DAF, Die Krupps… but what’s the impact of those artists on younger generations of musicians like Skren?

Poisa: We always get confronted with these artists and the time frame they came up in. The history of these bands is connected to the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and they leave a strong legacy. We have great respect for these artists and their work. But we don’t continue this tradition, because we’re following a very different expression… more dark, more heavy, more aggressive. We don’t care much about making music in Düsseldorf of all places. Skren’s sound can happen everywhere. Contemporary music is much more interesting for us.

Bias: Only a handful of artists here in the city do Noise, EBM, Hard-Techno and Industrial stuff. The vital places where music developed back in the days aren’t there anymore. Without being disrespectful to the artists you mentioned, but they are already part of the music history with an exhibition in the local museum. For me personally, I respect the pioneering spirit but the influence is very harmless, I need a completely different musical energy.

Q: You already released a few productions so how do you look back at the evolution from the early songs till the “Chaos”-album?

Poisa: Our first attempt producing songs for an album ended up after nearly one year, because we were not satisfied with the sound and the feel of the material. So we had to reset the whole setup and workflow to start with a new mindset. We refreshed our gear and ended up in changing the vocals from English to German which helped us a lot to become more direct and authentic and in this state the “Grell”-album happened almost naturally. It was the first collection of songs that made up sense as an album to us and defined a direction we could imagine to continue and build up on.

Bias: The “Chaos”-album developed more under an over-all vision we had. Sound-wise, lyrically and visually we both had some plans where we wanted to go. But the production was a little difficult for both of us and we struggled a lot to finalize the different production steps. But in the end we are very proud of the result with all the different musical directions it opens up for us, and how it comes together with the video visuals and the artwork. With every single production we got more into synth- and production-techniques.

Q: I think you perfectly exposed the theme of “Chaos” by the artwork of the album… which is pure chaos! What did you try to express by the title and the artwork and how do you transform the theme of chaos into music?

Bias: For me the title “Chaos” is a term to set the outline for the scenario that opens up within the album. I felt like existing in a world where it is hard to find reliable and consistent points to orientate oneself. The constant uncertainty about the future and the feeling of powerlessness in the face of events has helped me to shape the vision for the album. The songs reflect different situations to face this chaos.

Poisa: The title song “Chaos” is about this totally functional system that is so controlled and efficient. It is always pushing forward up to the limit, highly technical and everything gets swept away in a current. But a small change can bring this whole system into trouble, into a total loss of control. I like the idea of destruction and the search for a fresh start. When you have to rethink your routine and discover new perspectives. It is a struggle which is always present in life especially as a visual artist who in this world first fulfills no purpose at all except to ask questions. For me our music and the artwork represent this struggle. The structured elements get counteracted by parts which happened by accident. The confrontation of opposing parts and the intentional loss of control is our way to integrate chaos into the music.

Q: Your sound is featuring multiple influences, but how do you perceive this work? What’s the input of each member and what have been the main difficulties when writing and producing this album?

Bias: The multiple influences that can be heard in our music certainly result from the different music styles we listen to and from the interest in playing various instruments. When we produce music we try to follow the requirements of the song. It’s not about adapting our music to a certain genre. Therefore Skren’s sound is open to various influences. And of course this is audible in the music. That is how we define Industrial for us. It is a form of mixing different elements together to achieve contrast and friction. My musical approach is basically to transport feelings and moods and to give them expression. I do the vocals, write the lyrics, and come up with guitar ideas and drum-sounds. And I do additional synth programming, sample work and most of the technical side of mixing and mastering. When it comes to arrangement and mixing and mastering we sit down together and listen to what we prefer the most.

The main difficulties in writing the “Chaos”-album were to bring all the different parts together to achieve our sound and distill the essence from all the ideas.

Poisa: I do most of the synth stuff like programming sounds and sequencing basslines or lead patterns. And I also play the bass in some songs. I do the counterpart during arranging, mixing and mastering and listen from a more distant perspective. I often take on the subtractive part in the band. When we have collected a lot of material for a song, it is often my job to shorten and reduce in order to come to a straighter musical line.

Q: Skren seems to be a pure DIY (do it yourself) formation, but how important is it to you to stay ‘independent’ and would you consider singing to a label? What brings the future by the way?

Bias: Doing everything on our own is the most direct way to immediately express everything we want to as an artist. The independency we have is good for us and we really can work on stuff in our tempo without thinking about deadlines and fitting into defined categories. But working independently is very time-consuming. The whole organization to exploit all possibilities for people to get to know our music requires a lot of energy that we would rather spend in the studio. For this it would be advantageous to have a professional partner who takes over these tasks.

Poisa: For the future we are open for any kind of collaboration if it pushes Skren to new and exciting directions. Currently we are working on new material for future releases and we are preparing a set for a live scenario. So we hope to hit some stages soon. 



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